A loss of consortium claim is one for damages caused by deprivation of family relationships suffered by family members of a person killed or injured by another’s negligent or wrongful acts.
Some states recognize multiple types of loss of consortium claims and some states do not recognize the claim at all. Loss of consortium claims may be available for the spouse, parent, or child of the injured person, depending on where the case is filed. Texas law allows recovery for loss of spousal consortium[i] and parental consortium.[ii] This means one spouse may file a claim for the injury or death of the other spouse and a child may file a claim for the injury or death of a parent. Texas does not recognize loss of consortium claims for the loss of a sibling, stepparent/stepchild,[iii] or a parent’s loss of a child.[iv]
A spousal loss of consortium claim may include loss of affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, sexual relations, emotional support, love, felicity, and household services that are enjoyed by spouses. The court may consider the length of the marriage, the overall tone of the marriage, and the amount and quality of time the spouses regularly spent with each other.
Did your husband handle the yard work and minor repairs of your home or car? Did your wife take care of your children, take care of cleaning your home, or handle household errands? These are all types of household services that may be considered when assessing a loss of consortium claim. If the spouse who normally handled yard work can no longer perform that activity, you may be entitled to an amount that allows you to hire a lawn service. If the spouse who normally cleans the home is injured, you may recover for a house cleaning service. These are only a few examples of what a court may consider when assessing this type of claim.
One important thing to remember about bringing a loss of consortium claim is that a spouse will need to testify about the intimate details of the marital relationship. In order for a jury to assign a dollar figure to the claim, they must have the information necessary to assign a value to the relationship. If one or both parties to the marriage are not comfortable discussing intimacy with strangers, a loss of consortium claim may not be appropriate.
A parental loss of consortium claim may include loss of the parent’s love, affection, protection, emotional support, services, companionship, care, and society. The court may consider the child’s age, the nature of the parent/child relationship, and the severity of the injury (or death) of the parent.